Oscar-nominated Bryan Cranston already a winner

Bryan Cranston (Photo:Clint Spaulding/PMC)

Bryan Cranston (Photo: PatrickMcMullan/Clint Spaulding/PMC)

Before the Oscars were handed out at the 88th Academy Awards, Bryan Cranston was already a winner.

Cranston had his first Academy Award nomination this year for playing the title role in Trumbo. As the blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo it was a showcase performance by the actor who has already proven the depth of his craft.

In every episode of Breaking Bad Cranston was flawless, and for that he was awarded four Emmys as Lead Actor in a Drama. Prior to the acclaimed AMC series, he played the wacky dad role on Malcolm in the Middle, and got three Supporting Actor in a Comedy nominations. Add to that his stage work, winning a Tony in 2014 for portraying LBJ in the play All the Way on Broadway. His range is impressive.

Cranston’s movie roles have also been worthy of attention, especially in Argo which won the Best Picture Oscar in 2013. And there’s The Lincoln Lawyer, Drive, Contagion, Larry Crowne, Total Recall, Godzilla, and voice work in the new Kung Fu Panda 3. There are at least six new productions he’ll be filming this year including starring in Wakefield with Jennifer Garner playing his wife.

Regardless of not being awarded the Oscar this year (perhaps next year for Wakefield), Bryan Cranston is still a winner.

Why? In addition to his undeniable talent, Bryan is an ultra-nice guy. Despite his hectic schedule of the nominees’ luncheon, interviews, supporting the DVD release of Trumbo from Universal, and making the rounds for the Oscar events circuit, he took the time out to be a truly great guy and made a surprise visit to wish Frank Barron (veteran Hollywood journalist and my husband) a happy birthday.

Frank Barron, 97, and Bryan Cranston (photo by Margie Barron)

Frank Barron, 97, and Bryan Cranston (photo by Margie Barron)

You have to cheer for someone who is so thoughtful and treasures friendship more than fame. Bryan gave the gift of a great memory for Frank’s 97th birthday. The two guys sat down and exchanged Hollywood stories and talked about their love of baseball. But mostly Bryan bragged about his wife Robin, and told how proud he is of his daughter Taylor who graduated from USC’s drama department.

Cranston was on his way to Sony Studios to do some voice overs for the movie version of All The Way for HBO premiering this spring. He explained, “We’re still in editing. It’s a great film about President Johnson and will show what a complex character he was, with many accomplishments including passing the Civil Rights Act just six months after Kennedy’s assassination. Journalist Bill Moyers, who was LBJ’s press secretary, once said, ‘Johnson was 11 of the most interesting people I’ve ever met.’ That tells you what a complicated role it is.”

During the recent Television Critics Association winter press tour, Cranston was asked if he could compare his Trumbo and LBJ roles. He said, “Yes. There’s a lot in common. I think if you drew a Venn diagram, there would be a lot more in common than outside the circles—both very ambitious, exceptional at what they do, can be irascible, can be selfish and self-righteous, very talented. There’s a tremendous amount that they have in common. It’s just really serendipitous for me that Jay Roach directed me for both.”

Seeing the preview clips of All The Way, Cranston is remarkable. His portrayal gives you goosebumps. So how do you get such a great performance? Bryan said, “I think inherent in actors is a sense of risk taking. There’s a feeling like when you were playing sports as a young kid, actors are the ones who said, ‘Hit it to me’ or ‘Give me the ball. Let me take the shot with three seconds left. Let me take that chance to win’ as opposed to many more people who would say, ‘Oh, please God, don’t give it to me. Don’t make me do that.’ And I think inherent in actors is that sense of, ‘I’ll give it a shot. I’ll see what we can do.’ And I think that’s the biggest thing.”

That’s what makes Bryan Cranston a winner—he gives everything his best shot and delivers, and remains a super-nice guy.

Having the best time of his life, Bryan is turning 60 on March 7, 2016. Happy Birthday. #

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.